The new Bethel police chief was in town June 9. Richard Simmons talked with several residents in a “meet and greet” session right before the city council meeting.
Because he’s still an employee of the Fort Worth Police Department, Simmons said that there were topics he would wait to talk about until he became a Bethel police officer. But he did say that he was a fan of Acting Police Chief Amy Davis and the way her department practices what's known as “community policing.”
“You know the names of your officers, and you know how to deal with the problems that come up in the community in partnership with your police department for problems that are appropriate for the police department," Simmons said. "There's a lot of social problems that the police department isn't the one that should be solving it."
He emphasized partnerships and police officers being a part of the community. Simmons said that he will make the full move to Bethel sometime in July.
In the city council meeting that followed, several Bethel residents spoke out about the protests that have continued after the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by Minneapolis police. Melanie Fredericks asked the Bethel Police Department to revisit training for officers, recruit more local staff, and interact more with the community.
“I hope that you all will commit to creating time and space to have these really important discussions about what's happening throughout our country right now,” Fredericks said.